The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Oct. 11

5. Twitter's Twits

Twitter. Tweeter. What's the difference?

Other than about $13 billion smackers that is.

In perhaps the single stupidest occurrence we here at the Dumbest Lab have witnessed in some time, overeager investors last Friday snapped up Tweeter Home Entertainment Group stock, which trades over the counter under the ticker "TWTRQ," mistaking it for shares of the still private Twitter, which is expected to start trading publicly in November under the symbol "TWTR." Shares of the bankrupt electronics retailer climbed as high as 15 cents Friday, up 1,400% from last Thursday's closing price of 1 cent.

Volume in Tweeter surged to 14.4 million shares from its regular daily average of about 29,000 as experienced traders rode the stock up on the backs of inexperienced retail investors who asininely believed they were purchasing a piece of the social media platform. Trading in Tweeter was eventually frozen with the stock at 5 cents around 1 p.m. Friday after the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority realized that too many rubes were stocking up on shares of a "possible initial public offering of an unrelated security." On Tuesday, Tweeter reopened for trading with the ticker changed to "THEGQ" and promptly fell back to a penny.

No fooling, FINRA! Did you really need more than three hours to halt that stock? It took 3 seconds for the rest of the world to figure out it was a case of mistaken identity.

Of course, this silly ticker mix-up is just the start of the insanity that will surely envelop Twitter as it legs its way to its IPO. Just as we enjoyed weeks of Wall Street wackiness prior to Facebook's ( FB) fiasco of a coming-out party last year, rest assured that our friends at Twitter will reach similarly zany heights before they pound the gavel at the NYSE ( NYX) or ring the bell at the Nasdaq ( NDAQ).

And its already starting judging from the price targets being plucked out of the air by Wall Street's bullish analysts.

In the offering prospectus, which was unsealed last Thursday and the catalyst for all this madness, Twitter pegged the fair value of its common stock at $20.62 a share as of August. It's been widely reported that there are 620 million shares outstanding, which in turn gives the money-losing company a starting market value of just under $13 billion despite the fact that it has lost over $400 million since its inception in 2006.

Nevertheless, the company's IPO filing shows it generated $317 million in revenue in 2012 and had more than 218 million active users in the second quarter, up 44% from the prior year. That's enough of a growth story to spur the likes of Ironfire Capital, SunTrust and Gamco Investors to tell Bloomberg that Twitter could be worth $15 billion to $20 billion once it begins trading. Similarly, Jeffrey Sica, president of New Jersey-based Sica Wealth Management, foresees a valuation of as high as $40 billion when Twitter finally opens for trading.

Now we're not saying these folks will be proven wrong. By all rights, Twitter may explode from the outset and not look back, even though Facebook took a long trip down before finally eclipsing its offering price this past summer.

In other words, Facebook's crappy post IPO performance does not guarantee Twitter's future results.

That said, the already apparent idiocy over Twitter's upcoming offering certainly brings to mind the mishegas of Facebook's IPO. That's why we think Twitter founder Jack Dorsey may want to forget about a big splashy offering altogether and simply go public through a reverse merger using Tweeter as the shell company.

Heck, all his future investors are already trading that ticker anyway.

4. Carl's Compulsion

Forgive us Dumbest fans, but since we're talking Twitter we really need to address Carl Icahn's recent tweeting compulsion.

Not that there's anything wrong with the billionaire investor using the social media platform to pump -- or potentially dump -- his positions. The powers that regulate so far don't seem inclined to hassle Icahn about moving the market with his 140 character outbursts. So why should we antagonize Carl if he's filing the appropriate paperwork before letting his tweets fly?

Said another way: We're not idiots. We saw firsthand the hell Icahn put Bill Ackman and Michael Dell through this past year and the last thing we want is for Carl to belittle us in front of Scott Wapner on Power Lunch.

Unless, of course, there is something wrong with mixing tweeting and trading. We really don't know the legal ramifications of this new disruptive technology as it pertains to the market. That is, other than the fact that big-hitters like Carl can make big waves simply by hitting send and bucket-shop brokers are already tweeting for their own nefarious purposes as we speak.

Take the craziness that Carl unleashed Monday night when he tweeted: "Disclosed approx 61 million share position in Talisman Energy ( TLM). May have conversations with mgmt re strategic alternatives, board seats, etc.".

Carl's simple statement sent shares of the Calgary-based oil and gas driller surging over 8% in after-hours trading all the way to $13.43. Prior to Icahn's announcement, Talisman was down 3% for the year and were vastly under-performing the broader market.

Holy cow, Carl! We haven't seen markets reactions that amplified since Abby Joseph Cohen leveled the Nasdaq with an inadvertent belch during the Internet bubble.

And that's just Carl's latest trick. In August, Icahn added $17 billion to Apple's ( AAPL) market capitalization when he Tweeted about his $2 billion investment in the iPhone maker and his "cordial dinner with Tim" where he pushed Apple CEO Tim Cook for a bigger buyback plan.

Is it just us or is this getting a little nuts? Should we really care who Icahn dines with? Does it affect our retirement savings? Who knows? Maybe it does and maybe we ought to know what's on the menu too. Perhaps Carl should file his dessert choices with the SEC before tweeting them out.

Once again, we are not against this whole tweeting fad. We simply don't know where it will end.

Although it does give us a good idea for a new social media platform of our own. Maybe we'll take it public for $20 billion someday too.

How does BillionaireYenta.com sound?

3. Boeing's Bungle

For the friendly skies sake! How on earth could Boeing's ( BA) management be so stupid as to lose its monopoly on Japan Airlines?

Wait a second. Forget we asked the question. We know it was the Dreamliner that literally burned Boeing in Japan. But still.

Airbus snagged its first wide-body jet order from JAL Monday, cracking Boeing's decades-old lock on the company with a $9.5 billion deal for 31 A350 twin-engine jets. The first deliveries of the A350, which can carry up to 350 passengers, are expected in 2014 with JAL expecting to start using the plane in 2019. Shares in Airbus parent EADS ( EADSY) rose 1.75% in Paris on the victory, while Chicago-based Boeing slumped 1.7% Monday.

"Although we are disappointed with the selection, we will continue to provide the most efficient and innovative products and services that meet longer-term fleet requirements for Japan Airlines," said Boeing in a statement. "We have built a strong relationship with Japan Airlines over the last 50 years and we look to continue our partnership going forward."

That's right, boys. Keep your chins up, your faces brave and your upper lips stiff. That's the smart way to react now that Airbus has finally established a beachhead in your long-held territory.

Or, to be entirely truthful, that's the only way. What else can Boeing's brass do following the countless delays, fires and broken promises during the rollout of its 787 Dreamliner?

We know what they should have done, and that's redouble their efforts to make sure JAL was kept entirely in the Boeing column. Retriple them if necessary!

We're not joking. Boeing's management team should have bowed down to JAL executives 'til their backs were broken. And while even that may not have been enough, Monday's historic defeat makes it as clear as an azure sky that something desperate needed to be done to reassure their Japanese partners in the wake of the Dreamliner nightmare.

Or should we say, in the wake of Airbus' dream scenario.

2. Bye-Bye, Ballmer

Farewell, Steve Ballmer. For our own selfishly dumb purposes, we hate to see you go.

Microsoft ( MSFT) shareholders, however, not so much.

Shares of Mister Softee were a rock solid $54 -- or a pre-split $108 -- when Ballmer took the CEO spot from founder Bill Gates in January 2000. And while the company has delivered more than $200 billion in operating profit in the past decade under Ballmer's reign, shareholders never really saw those dollars flow into their pockets in the form of capital appreciation. Shares of the $276 billion tech-giant finished Monday near $33.

Sure Microsoft stockholders pocketed a decent dividend in the past 10 years, around 3.3% at last check. Microsoft launched its dividend program three years into Ballmer's term when it announced its ninth stock split since the firm's founding in 1986.

Still, a staid old coupon payment is not why investors wanted to be in a supposedly cutting-edge tech company. They wanted cool products. They wanted growth. Heck, they expected growth and they were told they were going to get it when that first-ever dividend was announced in January 2003.

"Declaring a dividend demonstrates the board's confidence in the company's long-term growth opportunities and financial strength," said John Connors, Microsoft's CFO at the time. "We see enormous potential for growth in the software and technology sector, and remain committed to attracting investors who share this enthusiasm and take a long-term view of the company's growth opportunities."

Alas, the dividend remained, but the growth did not arrive and Microsoft morphed into a so-called value stock. In the end, all that Ballmer delivered was bad theatrics (the dancing, singing and screaming), broken promises (a higher stock price, a Bing that could beat Google ( GOOG)), bad deals ($8.5 billion lost on Skype, $6.3 billion squandered on aQuantive), missed deals ( Twitter, Yahoo! ( YHOO)) and me-too technology (the Surface, the Zune).

Make that me-three technology.

And that's perhaps the saddest part of the Ballmer era and why we also felt a bit melancholy while reading his farewell letter to the troops Monday. Microsoft had all those billions to spend and all those high-priced engineers on its payroll, yet the company still could not make an innovative product (save Xbox Kinect, to give credit where it's due).

A decade ago, Ballmer and his company talked about growth. On Monday, however, he told his employees that the company's new focus will be on "high-value activities."

"What is a high-value activity? Think of the experiences people have every day that are most important to them -- from communicating with a family member and researching a term paper to having serious fun and expressing ideas," wrote Ballmer. "In a business setting, high-value activities include experiences such as conducting meetings with colleagues in multiple locations, gaining insight from massive amounts of data and information, and interacting with customers. Microsoft will enable these types of high-value activities with a family of devices -- from both Microsoft and our partners -- as well as with our services."

Value, value, value. That's what he sees in Microsoft's future where he once envisioned growth, growth, growth.

Who knows? Now that he's leaving, Microsoft may finally get it.

1. Shutdown Stupidity

Chill out, dudes! If Moody's ( MCO) doesn't think the debt ceiling battle is a big deal then why should we?

In a Bloomberg Television interview last Saturday, the ratings agency's CEO Ray McDaniel said he sees a "very low" chance the U.S. will default on its debt payments as the standstill between President Obama and House Republicans continues. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said last week Congress needs to increase the debt ceiling by Oct. 17 or the U.S. will be "dangerously low" on cash and risk defaulting on its obligations.

"There's, we still think, a good chance that there will be resolution around the debt ceiling," said McDaniel. "Even if there's not resolution on the debt ceiling, we think that the likelihood that Treasury security payments would be prioritized highly is strong."

What more do you need folks? Everybody's killing themselves for a deal and the single guy they are ultimately trying to please is telling you it's no big thing! Moody's has already blessed the U.S. with its top ranking, and now its boss says there is nothing to fear. So why should we?

So what if Moody's and the other two blind mice -- Fitch and S&P -- nearly blew up the global financial system by blessing toxic mortgage bonds with pristine ratings? And who cares if they never really admitted that their so-called credit models were in fact a corrupt joke?

Deal or no deal, if Ray McDaniel says our country's paper is riskless then it's riskless!

That should be good enough for our Chinese bankers right? Or new incoming Fed Chief Janet Yellen, since at $85 billion a month, or whatever she hoovers up to keep rates low, she will soon replace Ben Bernanke as the biggest Treasury buyer around.

Heck, when Standard & Poor's downgraded Uncle Sam's credit in 2011, yields moved lower! For all you stock-jockeys out there, that means that bond prices went up when our government's credit went down.

That's why we here at the Dumbest Lab say "Screw it!" Let the president and House Republicans keep talking about a solution. Or not talking. The bond market's experts have deemed it just doesn't matter.

Until, of course, it does.

-- Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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